Another short escape from the crowded Bangkok! After I wrote the post about the island getaway, Koh Chang, there is another place that would be great to escape from Bangkok. As I became obsessed with the Thai movie when I was young (you gotta watch The Legend of Suriyothai), I got to know a merciless kingdom named Ayutthaya. And of course, it got into the travel bucket list that I have to do, which I finally did it by doing temples hopping around Thailand. I decided to take a one day trip to Ayutthaya from Bangkok as the first check on my bucket list. It was an easy peasy trip (I even visited it twice!) and I totally recommend it if you were a movie and history geek like I do. Therefore I am writing some things to do in Ayutthaya for you to follow:
How to get there?
The easiest way to reach Ayutthaya (also the cheapest way) was by the train from Bangkok. The departure is around one time per 2 hours as I recall, it was only 25-35 baht one-way trip and almost 3 hours journey. There are also some travel vans that goes faster to Ayutthaya but would cost even higher. Nonetheless, I totally enjoy the view from the train and surrounding myself with the locals when I took the train!
What to do next?
The pity part is that the train station is outside of the city centre where most of the famous temples are. But I managed to get around the full trip by renting a scooter! There were so many guesthouses in front of the train station (I usually sleep there one night, so I can catch the train back to Bangkok the next day) and plenty of them also offer scooter renting service. Renting the scooter is definitely the best way to explore Ayutthaya, as its way cheaper, flexible and fun to get lost in this ancient city!
What to see?
When I rent the scooter, the salesman/woman would give me the maps and show me which best part that I should visit. Ayutthaya has so many temples to explore and I would only choose to see the best part of it, considering the limited time. The most touristic part is the temples in the central of Ayutthaya, where the best part that most people want to see is the Buddha’s head on the root of a tree. There were other plenty temples you can go, but these were the best sightseeing and things to do that I did when I was there:
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Also in the centre of Ayutthaya, it has a different kind of temples structures, still intact and very organised. The popular part is the three temples on the front that most people just prefer to take pictures in front of it without having to get in.
My favourite temple in Ayuthaya (I got in here twice!). I did not know about this temple in the beginning, but the scooter lady marked it on my map and it was the only place outside of the centre of Ayuthaya. So I thought, why not go take a look? And turns out, it was super beautiful! It has a large park and temples blocks area where you can go explore and feel like Indiana Jones!
The famous and the main reason people would come, which is the Buddha’s head in the tree roots. If you came in the middle of the day, expect to be super crowded with tour bus and tourists. So come over here when it’s almost close around 4 pm – 5 pm
Circle around the town and get lost!
I did not know where I was. Seriously. But I kept going around with my scooter and checked out a couple of temples around. I even stopped at a park, walked around and found large temples again. Yes, yes, if you loved temples as I do, you would be super excited about exploring Ayutthaya! The city has many parks and there will always be ruins and temples that were conserved by the government. They really care about the ruins and tried to preserve it as much as they could.
Ayutthaya Floating Market
On my second visit I finally able to visit the floating market here. The place is not as famous as in Pattaya, but hey its free to enter! So we walked around the market and found lots and lots of cute shops and food. We were lucky that during our time when we went there, they had some theatrical performance which is quite interesting!
Afternoon Street Food Market
Just a couple meters away from Wat Mahathat, there was a street food market that always opens in the afternoon, start around 4 pm. And you can absolutely expect a good food coming from the Thai people! Nonetheless, pack up some food and drinks to go because you are going to have a picnic!
Now that I already prepare all the food with heavy plastic bags. We went behind the Wat Mahathat area where you can find another open temple with the big park. The beautiful sight is the lake on the side of the temples were mesmerising. Most of the locals often come here on the afternoon simply just to enjoy the sunset; dating, playing soccer, walking their dogs (so I got to play around with them too!), or simply just hang out with their friends. It was nice to close up our journey with the beautiful view and blending in with the locals.
On the second visit, me, Arma and Kelly had a pleasant afternoon picnic after the whole day touring Ayutthaya. We mainly just sit around on the grass, ate sushi and just had a lot of laughs. I was satisfied showing them my favourite things to do and to see in Ayutthaya before each of us departed. While Kelly went back to Bangkok, I and Arma continued the journey to the north of Thailand. Nonetheless, it was such a fun day to be out there with some good friends that can be a perfect travel buddies!
If you decided to go back to Bangkok, it might be wise to skip the sunset and find the last train to Bangkok at 3.30 pm. But I totally recommend to just sleep one night here and go back the next day.
Now, do I succeed tempting you to come visit Ayutthaya?
© 2017 Writing & Images copyright of Marina Utami.